Manchester’s major new cultural venue, Aviva Studios has officially opened today, 18th October 2023.

Designed by Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), Aviva Studios is a combined arts, music and culture venue in the city.

The Manchester City Council led project has been carried out with the backing of £99.05m from the Government and £7m National Lottery funding from Arts Council England. It is supported by insurance company Aviva.

The 13,350-square-metre modular building is divided into a 21-metre-high Warehouse performance space, while its Hall features a flexible stage and can house an audience of up to 1,603 seated or 2,000 standing. The Warehouse and the Hall can also work together, with the proscenium capable of opening fully into the Warehouse and allowing the stage to run deeper into the building.

While its official opening begins today, the venue has already been host to a large exhibition of work by Yayoi Kusama, which ran through August.

Art Fund – Going Places – Oct 2023
Aviva Studios, the new home of Factory International in Manchester. Photo by Marco Cappelletti. Courtesy of OMA and Factory International

Its newly announced programme is operated by Factory International, the organisation behind Manchester International Festival. It begins with the world premiere of Free Your Mind, a large-scale immersive performance based on The Matrix and directed by Danny Boyle.

Also newly announced is an Artist Takeover, a new Factory International programme which offers artists the chance to use the space.

John McGrath, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Factory International, said: “At every stage in imagining and building this extraordinary space, we have focused on creating new possibilities – for artists to let their imaginations fly, for citizens of Manchester and the world to meet and dream, and for people of all ages and backgrounds to build skills and gain experience.”

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said Aviva Studios will “maximise the potential of the creative industries in Manchester and beyond, creating opportunities for local talent and bringing more world-class culture to the city.”

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